Ottawa is launching a new $1.26 billion Strategic Innovation Fund that’s available across all sectors, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced today in Hamilton, Ont.

The fund is intended to support four types of innovation activities, according to a government news release. Those are organized into four different streams:

  • research, development, and commercialization of new products and services
  • growth and scale-up of high potential firms
  • attraction of new investments to Canada that will expand business opportunities and create jobs
  • public-private partnerships to develop and demonstrate new technologies

The first three streams require applicants to be from a for-profit, private corporation. The fourth could be an academic institution, network, research institute, or a private company.

The fund is part of the wider Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan that the government created after conducting a nationwide consultation process. The $1.26 billion for the Strategic Innovation Fund will be spent over five years.

“Making sure that Canada is a top destination for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs and prosperity for Canadians is one of the government’s top priorities,” states the funds’ website.

The announcement was made at Hamilton’s CAN-med Healthcare lab, itself the result of a public-private partnership. It shows that combining government money with industry money can lead to solving problems and creating real value, says David Carter, the executive director of the Hamilton-based Innovation Factory.

“Hamilton is on fire right now and it’s a good place to serve as a backdrop to drive the economy,” he says. “Buckets of money is exactly what we’re looking for. Anything to get something out of the lab and into production is great.”

The funding could help some companies stay local instead of turning to the U.S. for funding, he added.

Applicants for funding are asked to submit a high-level overview of their project first. They’ll be provided feedback on whether that there’s potential to advance to the next step, a full application that will involve a due diligence and benefits assessment.